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1. Assuming the crop is dominant in a given area. The comparisons are made among the arable crops considered in the study in terms of their relative importance of the respective issue. 2. Assuming conservation tillage practice. Source: OECD Secretariat. AGRICULTURE, TRADE AND THE ENVIRONMENT – THE ARABLE CROP SECTOR – ISBN-92-64-00996-5 © OECD 2005 – 29 The report is organised as follows: x Chapter 1 provides an overview of the relative importance of the arable crop sector in production and trade, examines changes in farm structures and discusses the main driving forces that affect such changes, including changes in area, yields and chemical inputs.

Of the 15 states included in the USDA’s survey in 1999, 98% of the planted maize acreage received nitrogen, 82% phosphates and 67% potash (USDA, 2000). Herbicides were applied to 98% of the maize acreage. Soybeans producers applied nitrogen fertiliser to 18% of the area planted, phosphate to 26% and potash to 28%. Soybeans growers applied insecticide to only 2% of the soybeans area planted. They also reported few fungicide or other chemical applications. For sunflower, nitrogen was applied to 90% of the total sunflower area.

Leaching of nitrogen can result from applications of mineral fertilisers at very early stages of crop growth, so that little is taken up by plants, or from the excessive application of fertilisers. , 1994). Hoffmann, et al. (2000) estimated long-term changes in nitrogen leaching from cereals, grass and bare fallow for three different soil types in nine Swedish agricultural regions, covering a range of climatic conditions. They found that leaching of nitrogen was approximately the same in the 1860s as it was in mid-1980s.

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